EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County is awarding $1.3 million in funding for various park and recreational projects in communities throughout the county.

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The County Board voted Wednesday night to authorize the $1,308,765 in Park Enhancement Program (PEP) grant funding.

“Since its establishment the funds have been used to improve parks and recreational facilities across the county,” Chairman Kurt Prenzler said.

The PEP grants range between $15,000 and $138,000 and include funds for projects such as, , ADA equipment, playground equipment, pickleball courts, fencing, bike/pedestrian trail, landscaping, sporting equipment, lighting, senior center renovations, picnic tables, outdoor fitness equipment, barbecue grills, portable scoreboards, mowers and more. The funding is combined with city, village, township and park district funds to finance projects.

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Prenzler said the PEP grants are successful thanks to the taxpayers. He said voters approved a 1/10th of one percent sales tax in 2000 under the Illinois Metro-East Park and Recreation District Act and Madison County’s Community Development Department administers the PEP funding through Madison County Park and Recreation Grant Commission.

In the program’s 23 years, municipalities, townships and park districts received more than $25 million in funding. The grants are applied on an annual basis.

County Board member and Grants Committee Chair Denise Wiehardt of Granite City said the program benefits taxpayers countywide. She said taxing districts are able to maintain and improve parks and recreational facilities with the PEP funding.

“We have a vast network of parks and recreational facilities within the county and these things enhance the quality of life for all our residents,” Wiehardt said. “People in every community can go to their local park and point to something that was built with the sales tax funding.”

Circuit Clerk Tom McRae, who serves as a member of the Parks and Recreation Grants Commission, said not only do residents enjoy the amenities at all of the county’s parks and recreational facilities but so do the people who come to visit Madison County.

“This contributes and enhances the quality of life throughout the county,” McRae said. “People can go to any park and point to something that the PEP grants funded.”

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